Acupuncturist and Admin Xi Yang recently departed for an internship at a hospital in China. Read on to learn more about what she is doing there!
The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle that runs across the buttock and laterally rotates the hip. It runs from the anterior (front) of the sacrum to the head of the femur (the bony notch on the outside of your hip, the top of your upper leg.) The piriformis is a very important muscle clinically because the sciatic nerve runs right alongside the piriformis. In about 15-17% of the population, the sciatic nerve actually runs through the piriformis muscle. This means that stress or injury to the piriformis muscle can irritate the sciatic nerve, and cause sciatica. When the piriformis muscle is the cause of sciatic pain, the condition is called piriformis syndrome.
Tension headaches are a very common problem, and when they start happening frequently enough to interfere with one’s life, they definitely require treatment! The cause of tension headaches from a biomedical perspective remains unknown, but we do know that most are triggered by or exacerbated by stress, and many involve muscle tension or spasms in the muscles of the scalp, face, neck, or upper back.
Frozen Shoulder, or “adhesive capsulitis” refers to a painful musculoskeletal condition characterized by pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint. The tendons, bones, and ligaments that make up the shoulder joint are encased in a connective tissue, fluid-filled capsule. In cases of Frozen Shoulder, this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint and/or the fluid becomes thicker, restricting movement and causing pain. It is somewhat of a medical mystery – we don’t exactly know why Frozen Shoulder occurs, and it presents differently in different people. Frozen Shoulder tends to gradually get worse with time, and then gradually gets better. Some people have symptoms for up to 2 years. For some patients, the stiffness is merely annoying – for other patients, pain levels can be incredibly severe and the pain can interfere with sleep, work, driving, and activities of daily living. You are more likely to develop Frozen Shoulder if you are recovering from a procedure that immobilizes the joint for a period of time, such as surgery or a mastectomy. Frozen Shoulder is also more common in middle aged individuals – in certain countries in Asia it is referred to as “40-year shoulder” or “50-year shoulder.”
The Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small but powerful muscle of the lateral hip. It originates from the side of your pelvis, and inserts itself into the IT Band – a dense band of connective tissue that runs from your hip down your lateral thigh to just below your knee. The Tensor Fasciae Latae (or TFL) is an important hip stabilizer, keeping one foot in front of the other as you walk. It also abducts the hip (lifting your leg out to the side away from your center), as well as flexes the hip and internally rotates the thigh. The TFL works in conjunction with many of the larger muscles of the hip to perform these important tasks.
Cupping therapy is indicated for various types of acute and chronic pain. Acute trauma from sports injuries or car accidents often leave the muscles in a tense, contracted state and/or create pockets of stagnant blood, which leads to inflammation, pain, and consequently, poor circulation of blood and qi to the injured area.
If a patient comes in to my clinic experiencing a rash in a line across his ribcage, or tingling in the skin down the side of the shin, I immediately want to treat their spine. Why? Because of something called dermatomes.